Assistant Warden for the Opelousas Police Department, 55-year-old Peggy Sylvester died early Sunday morning while on her way to work.
According to State Police, Sylvester was trying to pass a car around 4:45 a.m. on Highway 31 when she loss control of her unit, traveling off the road, through a ditch and into a tree.
She wasn't wearing a seatbelt.
"It's just a sad moment right now for our department and for her family, and we want to make sure that her family knows our heartfelt sympathies go out to them," said Opelousas Chief of Police Perry Gallow.
Gallow says Sylvester was scheduled to work a 12-hour shift Sunday and has been working for the police station for the last three years, becoming an integral part of the force.
"She was responsible for booking inmates, making sure that the inmates were feed and making sure that they're put in AFIS," said Gallow.
According to State Police, Sylvester was in law enforcement for over 14 years; working in Eunice and for the St. Landry Sheriff's office before the Opelousas Police Department. Gallow says her personality was a perfect fit for her profession.
"She was firm and committed to what her responsibilities were and that was being around inmates and making sure that they knew she was the boss," said Gallow.
Sylvester is survived by both her parents, her fiancée Sgt. Rodney May of the Opelousas Police Department and her three kids; one of which is already following in her mother's footsteps.
"Her youngest daughter amber is a junior police officer and has aspirations to become an Opelousas Police Officer," said Gallow.
Jennifer Hooks, who lives next door to the scene of the accident, says some in the neighborhood have put in culverts to prevent the exact type of flooding she says was present on the road Sunday morning and to prevent serious accidents.
"My father-in-law put the culverts in because of wrecks happening. My mother-in-law and the neighbor across the street, Miss King, have said for years that somebody is going to go off (into the ditches that line Highway 31) and they're going to die."